"Riding the Scalpel" is the incredible 20-year saga of a globe-trotting adventure traveler who rode for his life. Jim Doilney was a PhD in economics and university professor when he kicked academia away and moved to a small mountain town in Utah. Within a few years he had a successful resort business and made a promise to himself to make time every year for long treks "…to places nobody goes, to meet people nobody knows."
Traveling by foot or by bike, he crossed faraway deserts, climbed mountain peaks, hiked through tropical jungles and over glacier passes. His plan was "no plan" and he deliberately set out with minimal equipment and comforts, testing himself against deprivation and physical limits.
He skied down active volcanos, waded through crocodile-infested rivers, dodged angry grizzlies and great white sharks, spending hours in the company of unique characters--- still-truckin' hippies, burned-out surfers, laid-back expats, remote farmers, cocaine cowboys, backwater entrepreneurs, and a host of fellow travelers who shared the road.
His journeys took him from the top of Alaska to the bottom of South America, through the wilderness of Denali and frozen fjords of Glacier Bay, along the remote Oregon coast, down the beaches of the Mexican coast, across the Panama Canal, over the Andes and down into Patagonia.
He finished the "toughest bike race in the world"---Canada's famed Trans Rockies---and walked the 500 miles across northern Spain for the way of the thousand-year-old Camino de Santiago.
He hiked the ancient Annapurna circuit in the shadow of the Himalayas and climbed the peak where Spanish conquistadors once stood to see both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. He biked across the South Island of New Zealand and down the east coast of Australia. He dove with sharks in Africa and survived a rogue wave in Mau---and then tragedy struck.
At the peak of his travels, he faced a fatal diagnosis of prostate cancer. Weighing the only treatments offered---radical surgery, chemo, or radiation, along with the brutal life-changing after-effects---he rejected them all. '"Butcher me, bake me or burn me," he called them, and vowed to find the alternate path.
For decades, in between treks, he haunted the offices of doctors and the halls of the American medical establishment, astounded that no one had better answers for a cancer that maimed and killed hundreds of thousands of otherwise healthy men. Most surprising of all, he uncovered published studies that showed those same tortuous treatments offered no longer than simply doing nothing. But doctors seldom discussed it.
Eventually, through twenty years of searching and traveling, he found what he was looking for. He has lived to write this journal. Not just to relate his adventures, but to tell the thousands of aging men who every year face death from prostate cancer, "There is another way."